Weight Loss Study Shows Importance of Portion Control
For many years, sports science studies have stressed that varying amounts of fat, protein and carbohydrates are the key to weight loss. A January, 2012 article in the Wall Street Journal challenges those long standing beliefs.
The study was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. It followed 25 young, healthy men and women who were fed 1000 excess calories per day for 56 days in a controlled environment. They varied the mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat between three groups. The common belief was that low-protein; high carbohydrates groups would gain the most weight. Indeed, the group with only 5% protein of their total calories did gain less weight than those on normal or high protein diet, but they also had measurable-loss of lean body mass. It was also important that the body fat among the participants of all the groups increased by the same amount. An important point to note is that none of the participants were allowed to exercise at all for the duration of the study.
These findings suggest that the content of your diet doesn’t alter your weight gain as much as the issue of the ratio of fat, carbohydrates and protein because the calories themselves build the body fat. This is not to encourage anyone to load up on processed, high fat/salt foods, but what it does reinforce is the importance of appropriate portion sizes.
Before studies had re enforced that high-protein diets would lead to lower weight gain. This study concluded that “despite the differences in protein and fat intake, the level of body fat increased by essentially the same amount among all the participants.”